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Music Review: Scripture Songs by New Hope Oahu

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Updated February 13, 2019
Scripture Songs
"Psalm 40"  - New Hope Oahu Music - OFFICIAL Music Video

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£8.99 (Amazon)

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Track Listing

Dream Label Group Worship Band, New Hope Oahu Music, blazed onto the Worship scene in 2013 with the release of their debut album “Hope is Alive” which premiered at #2 on the Billboard Praise and Worship Chart and featured the global hit song “How We Worship”.

New Hope O’ahu has since released 4 albums, “Victorious” (2014), “Greater Together” (2015), “Future + Hope” (2016) and “Kingdom” (2017), each of which have reached #1 on the Billboard Charts for Christian Music.

Their albums have also been recognized by The Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts, the “Grammy’s of Hawaii”, as Religious Album of the Year in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

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Scripture Songs by New Hope Oahu
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In our churches it sometimes feels like memorising scripture is something that our youth should be doing, I know that I was encouraged to learn loads of Bible verses as a child, but once I went into the adults services there was never any emphasis on continuing. It's been the same in a lot of Christian music as well, there are a lot of resources for Children including some excellent fun puppets and more to get them to memorise scripture, but there has not been a huge amount in the adult worship music. In some traditions through Christian history you would find Scripture being set to music and being sung word-for-word, but this is something that has largely died out in most modern churches. Of course there are many worship songs that are based on parts of the Bible, or the overall general themes, or a paraphrase here and there in a song on a particular theme, but not many modern worship albums have gone down the line of putting scriptures to music almost word-for-word from the Bible so that we can understand and memorise them better. Honestly though, when we believe that our tongues hold the power of life and death, what better to sing over ourselves and our loved ones? Inspired as it may be but "Amazing Grace" is not in the Bible, not even the Chris Tomlin version!

So stepping into this gap are The Hawaii Academy of Recording Arts winners for Religious albums of the year 2013-2015, the worship team of New Hope Oahu. This album is literally scripture being taken and set to music and it's no surprise to see that the first track is that favourite promise of "Jeremiah 29:11 (Future and a Hope)". This is an area that has been visited by New Hope Oahu, in fact there was a similar title that was the name of one of their previous albums. This is a completely original track though, with an overriding Gospel feeling complete with a full choir and a preacher / encourager. So this passage is not a huge surprise, the next one tackled on this album is, and a challenge too! In just under 3.5 minutes they manage to commit the second half of James Chapter 5 to music. "James 5 (Praise and Prayer)" deals with the passage on prayer, bringing a brother (or sister) back into the church, being prayed for by the elders etc. Do you know what, that is from memory without looking up either the passage or lyrics of the song! So something must be going in!

The ever popular "Psalm 23 (I am not alone)" comes next, this is probably another of the more obvious passages to choose and we have recently seen a lot of versions of this passage. This particular track isn't quite as close to the original as other tracks on this album, but it's quite a good track with more excellent choral work. I think a lot of people could guess the passages that would be chosen for songs on an album like this with a bit of Bible knowledge and along with the passages we have already considered there would be 2 Chronicles 7:14-15, a scattering of other well known Psalms. Some of this would definitely be correct, the next track is based on "2 Chron 7 (If My People Pray)" and then "Psalm 91 (My Refuge)" and a scattering of other Psalms appear on the rest of the album. I have to admit that I might have expected something from the Gospels, maybe the John 3 v 16. or the Beatitudes but there is nothing here from that important section of Scripture. There is a track on "Habakkuk 3 Remember Your Mercy)" which is a passage that I always remember from my younger days in church, in wrath remember mercy - it was a preaching series that never seemed to end. Thankfully there is more life in this version! Another passage considered later in this album is "2 Corinthians 6 (We Have Everything)" which is about serving God no matter what people's reaction, something that we need to remember in this day when it is hard to speak truth in a world so full of other noise.

There are a diverse range of styles that are employed here to bring these passages to life, and they very much manage to do this. I could imagine very easily picking up some of these tunes if I were listening to them regularly and the Bible going into my memory easily! There are some great vocals, both in the choral moments and the individuals who lead the songs. This selection of tracks do sound very different from the albums that have come before, the music seems less geared toward congregational worship apart from a couple of tracks and more something that you would listen to for personal pleasure as you would a performance.

If you are looking for a way to remember bits of the Bible then this is a great place to start because there are some tracks here that will help you remember passages thanks to the way the songs are written. They have found hooks and choruses that are easily singable. Other tracks, like "Psalm 63 (Steadfast Love)" are ones that can minister words of Scripture direct to your heart and your soul. This is a recording that I would keep on my personal praise and worship list, firstly because I want to hear scripture in song because it helps me remember it, but also because there is a brilliant diversity from gentle ballad, gospel, and more pop styled tracks. New Hope Oahu have released a real gem for every listener here, I really love this album!
RA

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